Greetings to you all on the occasion of another New Year.
Jetsunla and I are joined by Dungse Rinpoche, Jetsun Rinpoche, Minling Sangyum Kushog, Britton la and the monastic and lay Sangha of Mindrolling in wishing you all a most happy and healthy New Year 2019.
Time continues to flow on and we are here today ushering in another year of our lives.
As we look back at the year that is ending and look forward into the future to the year that is dawning, one cannot not feel the poignancy of impermanence. Change or impermanence is the very foundational thought that we try to keep in mind as Dharma practitioners and taking a really close look at impermanence brings forth the very ephemeral quality of all phenomena.
I recently watched a 15 second video on the death of a single cell and it was quite amazing to watch the dissolution of a living thing. To think, that we are all composed of trillions of cells each going through their own life cycle is fascinating and paints a very vivid picture of the impermanent nature of all things.
The flow of time and the impermanence of all phenomena is inevitable but understanding impermanence allows us to rest in ease when facing suffering and challenges and hopefully encourages us to release some of those things that we seemingly hold on to just a bit too tightly. Impermanence lets know that ‘this too will pass’, and it allows for the renewal of many things, giving us all a fresh view and another chance at things. It can also help develop a sense of appreciating the good things but not holding on to them so tightly, quite like the Japanese appreciation for the blooming of cherry blossoms and seeing their beauty as the very poignant and ephemeral quality of beauty. Truly understanding impermanence can help lead to facing whatever life offers with more equanimity.
The passing of another year is a good time to collect our thoughts and “regroup” our commitment to the path of hearing and contemplating. If we look back at our year and see a less than stellar year of practice, it is a good time to hit the refresh button. But this must be done with a sense of joy and enthusiasm. It can indeed be difficult to muster enthusiasm as more and more years pile up but it is integral to try and do so in our practice because a sense of jadedness and lack of joy can slowly seep in and make practice too just a case of going through the motions.
Instead if we think of the inconceivable marvel that is the Buddhadharma and how meeting it has indeed been like finding the most precious jewel in a heap of dust, that childlike wonder can help sustain our practice and unfurl the brilliance within our daily study and practice.
Throughout the year, many of us keep ourselves preoccupied with numerous attempts, which are often oblivious and sometimes with sophistry, to try and keep things constant and unchanging.
But the year changes and gently we are all reminded that change is inevitable.
Impermanence can be brought to mind to truly be a “thought that transforms the mind.”
It makes us see not just the birth, old age, sickness and death that is everywhere but also the vivid fluidity of every single thing in the universe–the constant motion, constant search, constant hope, constant growth, constant decay—bringing to mind the very fundamental teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha.
It is when we recognize this incessant movement, both subtle and gross, that we then realize that true refuge lies only in the stillness of a mind that rests in itself and the joy that unfurls from within.
May each one of us find that immutable, invincible joy!
And now, as one old year gives way to a new year, we remember our many friends and loved ones, who have moved on. We turn our mind towards many more of our Sangha brothers and sisters, who have faced health and other challenges this past year and are all bravely meeting this adversity in marvelous ways by keeping the view of the Dharma and devotion to the Three Jewels and the Three Roots at heart. I encourage all of you to spend this new year dedicating prayers for all of our Sangha friends and for all sentient beings in difficult situations and living in a time when the world itself seems changed and unpredictable.
Since something infinitesimal to the world at large, changes and is in a constant flux, we find that the only real constant is change itself.
What to do with this inevitable change is how our metal as a practitioner is tested. As we change the calendar, we need to bring a positive change in ourselves as well.
We must all renew our commitment to our path of practice–that we will dedicate a little more effort, a little more time with a little less self-absorption into our practice each and every day of this coming year. That we will find true joy in having met the precious Buddhadharma and that joy will propel us forward with more courage and devotion to truly embody a practitioner of the teachings of Gautama Buddha.
And so, as we move into another new year, I encourage everyone to reflect on the gift of this precious life with its extraordinary potential and the profound Dharma that allows us to recognize this.
May each one of us, bring into our awareness, the innate basic goodness and courageously build its potential to a powerful declaration of kindness and patience.
As is said
“Knowing others is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.”
May each one of you find courage, wisdom, support, blessings and love and May all obstacles in your life be dispelled. May this New Year bring a deepened understanding of the profound Buddhadharma within our minds and increased sanity in the world outside.
With all my love,
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